November 02, 2009
Some employers—especially those in large establishments—offer "stand-alone" dental and vision plans in their health care benefits packages. If a stand-alone dental or vision plan exists, it is likely that some employees will participate in this plan but not in the medical plan.
A common reason that employees make this choice is that they can be covered under their spouses' medical plan, but their spouses do not have a dental or vision plan.
In small establishments (1 to 49 employees), 18 percent of employees have access to stand-alone dental plans, and 14 percent participate in such plans. In large establishments (500 or more employees), 50 percent of employees have access to stand-alone dental plans, and 42 percent participate in those plans.
Stand-alone vision plans are offered to just 4 percent of employees in small establishments, with 3 percent participating. In large establishments, 19 percent of employees have access to stand-alone vision plans, and 16 percent participate.
These data are from the National Compensation Survey. A stand-alone plan is one that offers only dental or vision care, as opposed to a plan in which these benefits are included in a comprehensive medical care plan. To learn more, see "The New Health Participation and Access Data from the National Compensation Survey" in Compensation and Working Conditions Online, October 2009.